I once had a conversation about acquiring a taste for discordant, modernist crap. Bartok’s travesties for piano, I think.
I really don’t like Bartok.
Well, it’s an acquired taste.
It is? Really? Why?
Well, you have to learn to like it.
Well, once you learn to appreciate it, you can really appreciate it.
(n.b. not “enjoy,” but rather “appreciate.”)
Okay. Is it good for me?
What do you mean?
Is it like, lifting weights, or stretching, or cruciferous vegetables, or something like that? You know, unpleasant but good for my health. Is it good for me?
Well, no, not really.
Then why in the ever loving holy fuck would I want to acquire the taste.?
Modern/post modern dissonant music is unbearable shit. The only reason people listen to it, and claim to like it, is to feign an air of intellectual (and moral) superiority. You see, in “liking” this garbage, they get to hold themselves above the hoi polloi who like to listen to that old, standard stuff like Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.
You know, the stuff that defined music for centuries. That brought, and continues to bring joy to uncounted millions. That energizes, uplifts and elevates us. That inspires us to our greatest heights. That must be abandoned in favour of torturing your senses with Berg and Schoenberg and the like.
Here’s my counter offer; fuck off.
I have walked out on a $150 opera ticket so as not to be tortured with an hour of Schoenberg’s master pile of shit “Erwartung.”
Life is short.
Life is hard.
Life contains enough pain and suffering all on its own, that there is absolutely no reason to add to your suffering to “acquire a taste” for something that manifestly sucks.
So the next time someone tells you, “It’s an acquired taste,” ask him, “Is it good for me?”
If the answer is not unequivocally yes, I give you leave to use my standard reply:
Okay, here’s my counter offer: fuck off.